Happy 21st Birthday, Austin (sorry I am a bit late)

Happy 21, Austin! And thank you. Sorry I am a bit belated with my greeting.

Austin, as your mother anticipated your arrival, she began looking for someone to fill in for her at work while she was to be on maternity leave from the hospital she worked at in 1990. I was the fellow who got the job. Originally, the plan was to have me fill-in for about 10 weeks – while you and your mom got acquainted. By and by, that 10 weeks turned into 7 years. I worked 1 or 2 days a week at Children’s Hospital, helping out in Oncology/Hematology, Endochronology, and the on-call schedule. We carried beepers to stay in touch with the hospital back then. Perhaps a quick search on Wikipedia will inform you about these ancient devices many people carried at the time – before iPhones and their cousins became the rage.

I suppose there is a chance I may have done some good there, but mostly I just soaked up the caring environment, and learned about a side of Social Work I had little practical knowledge about. Even today, in my counseling practice, I find myself connecting medical and emotional stresses for adults and their children.

The other wonderful element that you, Austin, made possible for me is an entry into a group of professionals that I still cherish and get to see from time to time. Your mom has a knack for keeping many of us from that era together – which I am so grateful for. Yesterday, the head of the Social Work Department received a long-overdue recognition for her work on behalf of children-at-risk, particularly for her establishing a hospital-wide team approach to abuse interventions. So kids get the help they need.

You might still be able to see the brochure for the event if you click over to here: http://projectharmony.com/event-detail.asp?ID={63E0D871-A1FE-4156-9BC9-22CF91691F4F}

I am grateful to have been there with many of my colleagues and friends – to share the moment with my former workmates and friends.

So, Austin, thanks for showing up when you did. Just when the universe opened up for you, it did for me, too.